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Business Culture in South America
Transcript of Business Culture in South America
If you visit someone’s house, do not enter the bedroom
Turning your back on someone is impolite
Smoking indoors is legal, people tend to often smoke in restaurants, bars, discos
Thank you for your attention!
Do you have any questions?
Seminar: Cross-Culture Competencies
Ann-Christin Böse, Jennifer Stammerjohann, Maya Brücher
Social occasion - do not bring up business matters first
Don’t put your knife down and switch your fork to the other hand
When passing sth., avoid to hand it directly into their hands
Keep hands on the table and never put your elbows on the table
When toasting, it is common to say “Salud”
Don't check your watch and answer your phone
Its usual to split the bill
4. Differences within the continent
1. The sign for "OK" formed by your forefinger and thumb is offensive in Venezuela.
2. It is acceptable to discuss personal information in business meetings before getting to know
your business colleagues.
3. Which countries in South America have the lowest scales in terms of Hofstede´s
4. Physical contact that reaches beyond the handshake is not appropriate in South American
5. In Chile you should not make an appointment during carnival.
6. South American business people answer emails, calls and letters promptly.
7. Which South American country has the highest power distance?
8. It is ok to arrive late at business meetings as your business partner will arrive late too.
9. You probably won't sign a business contract in South America at the first meeting.
10. If you ask a counterpart to do something, don’t expect them to do it right away.
3. Business Culture
2. Drivers of Culture (Hofstede)
Approx. 387 Million
Roman Catholicism, Protestantism
Personal relationships have an enormous importance for business dealings!
Black suit, white shirt
and a tie
Elegant business suits or dresses
Appearance is very important
Business attire is rather formal and conservative, yet stylish
Good quality accessories are important for both sexes
Residents of the east coast dress more informally than those on the west coast
Do's and Don'ts
DO socialise and have small talk with counterpart before talking about business
DO wait until you are introduced by someone before you start talking
DO have eye contact, show emotions and use gestures
DO arrive on time on meetings although your counterpart probably will be delayed
DO make jokes and smile as it puts off pressure
DO have your business cards and presentation material printed in Spanish / Portuguese and English
DON'T hurry business partners in negotiations
DON'T refuse body contact
DON'T sign a contract promptly
DON’T take off your jacket or tie until your counterpart does
DON'T refer to the United States as "America"
DON’T use one finger to point, but use the whole hand when making gestures
DON'T criticise someone in front of other business colleagues
Hofstede's 5D* Model
Inequality amongst people is accepted
Influenced by migration background
Two of the most collectivistic cultures in the world
Masculine society - highly success oriented
Rather moderate behaviour and attitude
Strong need for rules and elaborate legal system in order to structure life
South America shows a mixture of Europeans, Amerindians, and Africans
Large European Ancestry
Since 1990s the economics experienced a rapid development, but high inflation rate (e.g. Venezuela 22%)
Large economic gap between the rich and poor
The economy of Brazil is largest in South America (Member of the BRIC- Countries)
Main economic sectors are agriculture (coffee, soybeans, cocoa) and manufacturing of consumer goods
South Americans speak English, French or German or another language
They will admire you more if you make an attempt to speak Spanish/Portuguese
Bring an interpreter to meetings if you do not have a proficient knowledge of the language
Decisions are made at the top
Personal interaction is preferred rather than emails, faxes, and calls
It takes time to cultivate the truly personal relationship
Deadlines are often not met
Women have to work extra hard to become respected
People quite often smoke in their offices
Promotional items are not viewed as appropriate gifts between potential business partners
Adequate presents: flowers, cigars, chocolate, wine
Gifts are usually not opened directly
Avoid black wrapping
Refusing a gift is bad social etiquette
Business professionals arrive on time to meetings
Much more pronounced hierarchy in comparison to other South American countries
Small talk before a meeting is minimal
While meeting groups, introduce yourself to the eldest person first
It is impolite to speak Spanish
Use first names in negotiations
The American "okay gesture" is regarded as obscene
Avoid comparisons between Argentina and Brazil
Do not make appointments during Carnival
Gifts should be opened in front of the person who gave it
Kissing on the cheek is different within the country
Do not talk about religion and the Falkland Islands conflict
Avoid comparisons with the United States or Brazil
Don‘t eat or drink in public since it is considered as being rude
Lower degree of bureaucracy
Avoid to slap your open hand over your fist
Do not bring purple flowers as purple means death
Smaller sense of personal space and highly tactile in many situations
Portuguese and Spanish are the most spoken languages
Spanish is the official language of most countries, along with native languages
Portuguese is spoken in Brazil
French Gujana (France)
South Americans tend to be formal socially just like Europeans
Colombians are rather "indirect communicators"
Protecting relationship and face is crucial
Avoid talking about drug trade or crime in general
GDP in South america
Handshaking with direct eye contact and a welcoming smile
Women: kiss(es) on the cheek
Men: brief hug
Use appropriate greeting
Address people by academic or
Use surname and "usted" until invited
to move on to first name and "tù"
"Buenos días, Señor Rivas"
Source: CIA World Factbook
Direct and constant eye contact
Greater use of hand and arm gestures
Less physical distance
Emerging markets - high potential in terms of business development
The culture is influenced by European immigrants
There are similarities in South America's business culture, but be aware of some differences
Consider more time at negotiations with business partners from South America
Personal relationships are very important
Difficult to arrange meetings too far in advance
Be punctual to meetings even though your counterpart is not
Less pre-meeting preparation, agendas are very likely to be ignored
Host / hostess introduces you to others at a small gathering
Long pre-meeting chat = vital part of the business relationship building proce
Business Cards should be translated into Spanish/Portuguese
Negotiations can be quite lengthy
Plan on holding several meetings
It is common to be interrupted, to argue or criticize
Honesty and integrity are highly valued
Don’t rely on oral contracts at all
Cyborlink, Brazil Business Etiquette & Culture: http://www.cyborlink.com/besite/brazil.html
The Brazil Business, Converse like a brazilian:
Business Knigge Brasilien: http://www.knigge.de/themen/geschaeftsleben/business-knigge---brasilien-11676.htm
World Business Culture, Doing Business in Brazil: http://www.worldbusinessculture.com/Business-in-Brazil.html
World Business Culture, Doing Business in Argentina:
The Hofstede Centre, Argentina: http://geert-hofstede.com/argentina.html
Maps of the world, Fast Facts - South America: http://www.mapsofworld.com/pages/fast-facts/south-america/
Collier, Simon, Thomas E. Skidmore, and Harold Blakemore, eds. (1992). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
Hamlett, C., Business Etiquette in Brazil. Traveltips USA Today: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/business-etiquette-brazil-16277.html
Wall, K., Business Etiquette in South America: http://www.ehow.com/about_6702510_business-etiquette-south-america.html
Go South Expat, Business Etiquette in South America: http://www.gosouthexpat.com/business-etiquette.html
Get customs, Doing business abroad: http://www.getcustoms.com/2004GTC/Articles/oag_11.html
Business Culture in South America
Argentina: ca. 85%
Venezuela: ca. 60%
Chile: ca. 50%
Brazil: ca. 47%